LONDON, England, March 26 – Fabrice Muamba watched his Bolton Wanderers team-mates playing local rivals Blackburn Rovers on a television highlights programme — but fell asleep before the end of the match.
Muamba dozed off with Bolton 2-0 up in a match they won 2-1 on Saturday — their first fixture since the 23-year-old midfielder collapsed with a cardiac arrest during the previous weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham.
The former England Under-21 international was “effectively dead” for 78 minutes but a series of encouraging medical bulletins have indicated he is making a recovery, although he remains in intensive care.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle, speaking Monday, said: “Fabrice is able to recognise people and answer questions.
“He also watched Match of the Day on Sunday morning, which shows he is making progress, although he did fall asleep with the score at 2-0.”
Shortly after Muamba’s collapse towards the end of the first half at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane ground, the match was abandoned and the player taken to the nearby London Chest Hospital, where he has been ever since.
The re-arranged FA Cup tie will take place at White Hart Lane on Tuesday and Coyle said a group of players would visit Muamba in hospital ahead of the match.
“It will give us a chance to thank the Tottenham fans because last Saturday it was almost like a sixth sense had taken over,” said Coyle.
“There was a real sense of unity.
“Is it going to be tough? Yes.”
By falling asleep, Muamba missed Steven Nzonzi’s goal for Blackburn, although that could not prevent Bolton securing an important win that allowed the Trotters to climb out of the Premier League relegation zone.
However, the main focus at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium was still on Muamba, whose plight has attracted worldwide sympathy from fellow players and football supporters alike.
“Fabrice’s father, Marcel, and fiancee, Shauna, wanted to express their thanks to everyone,” said Coyle.
“Football is a passionate game but nothing is more important than Fabrice’s recovery.”